Many of the 900 small projects will be open to tender

Network Rail has announced it will spend more than £2bn on improvements to platforms, stations and tracks over the next two years.

In its 2007 Business Plan, the rail infrastructure firm said it would spend £2.44bn on 900 small projects across the UK, including constructing new platforms, lengthening existing ones, and laying miles of new tracks. It will also build new maintenance and safety training centres.

Railway stock

The £2.44bn figure includes £400m towards improving transport links for the 2012 Olympics, including an upgrade of Stratford station.

Although the works on tracks will still be carried out by Network Rail’s six main contractors, many of the improvement projects will be open to tender.

Among the projects planned are a £78m Thameslink station at St Pancras International; a £24m station at East Midlands Parkway; new platforms at King’s Cross, Manchester Airport, Newport station and Bristol Parkway; and platform extensions in South Wales and Grays.

An investment of £300m will be made in Scotland on a railway line connecting Airdrie with Bathgate.

Network Rail chief executive John Armitt said: “we're not standing still waiting for the big infrastructure projects to be delivered. We are doing something about it now by moving forward with hundreds of small schemes dotted around the country that will add capacity and ease crowding.

"For the first time on record, over £1bn per year will be spent on expanding and growing the railway network."

Network Rail also plans to spend about £2bn on routine maintenance.